Exercise Music: Tunes to Get Fit By
Want to have more fun and work out harder? Exercise with music, experts say.
When Tommy Woelfel guides people through an indoor cycling class at Crunch fitness in Los Angeles, he is very attuned to the music.
"I choose music that fits specifically to the chosen activity," he says.
For example, the slow, steady, driving beat of "Running up That Hill," by Placebo (a remake of an old Kate Bush song) takes participants in Woelfel's class up an envisioned incline that they match by adjusting the resistance on their bikes.
"Working with a partner can push you," says Woelfel. "And music can do that, too."
Kolber relies on music for her own workouts: "If I forget my headphones," she says, "sometimes I leave the gym. I just can't work out."
Here are eight tips from our experts on how to choose exercise music and use music to enhance your fitness:
1. Use technology. Surely you remember buying your first album? Or, depending on how early you discovered the joys of music, maybe it was an eight-track tape. Remember spending hours trying to make cassette music mixes for friends? Those days are over. With iTunes and other music downloading web sites, you can easily download a variety of music for your MP3 player, customize your listening system to whatever inspires you, then groove for hundreds of hours.
2. Get personal. If the person next to you is rocking out to "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall, but you've never ventured past your Credence Clearwater Revival days, so be it. "Music is very subjective," says Alan. So if you have fine memories of dancing to Madonna and old-school Michael Jackson, don't let your husband talk you into putting an old Kiss song on your playlist.
3. Get rhythm. You don't have to play an instrument or be able to read music to be "musical," says Alan. When exercising to music, many people automatically match the cadence of their movement to the tempo and rhythm of the song that's playing. If you tend to do that, keep it upbeat. You may love the mellow sounds of Josh Groban, but save that for a stretch or Pilates workout, rather than trying to power walk to it.